Jewish Journal


June 9, 2011

This week in power: Weiner, Obama, Lederman, Palin


A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:

Weiner’s apology
After a week of guessing about whether it was in fact Weiner in the Twitpic, the congressman fessed up on Monday to sending the now infamous photo. Since Weiner is Jewish - and so was at least one of the women he reportedly corresponded with - bloggers discussed what it all meant. “I’m not going near the question of what Jewish women do or don’t do in bed, but suffice it to say that Jewish women are terribly, and contradictorily, stereotyped by society, and, often, by Jewish men themselves,” said Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic, regarding a particularly racy Weiner chat. But his political career has been helped by Jewish support, reported Steve Kornacki at Salon. Now that changes a bit, said James Besser in The Jewish Week. “I wonder if Jewish constituents are as willing to forgive and forget; maybe for them, the issue in the next election will be stupidity, not sin. We’ll get the answer to that next November.”

Is Obama good for the Jews or not?
There’s a fight going on between Democratic and Republican groups over whether the president is a friend of Israel, reported JTA. As we get closer to the 2012 election, this is turning “into a very loud argument indeed,” reported Hilary Leila Krieger in The Jerusalem Post. As right-wingers are challenging Obama’s commitment to Israel, at least one Jewish leader is standing up for him. “Obama’s heartfelt connection to the Jewish community and his bold and unwavering support for Israel’s military might make him an outstanding addition to the long line of U.S. presidents who, since Harry Truman, have rightly stood with Israel,” said Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. But when high-profile people come out and write op-eds, said Besser in The Jewish Week, you have to wonder if “maybe the White House is a little more worried about the Jewish vote” than they’d lead you to believe.

Meet Dan Lederman
“Could Dan Lederman, an energetic and peripatetic 38-year-old Republican state senator in South Dakota, set a new template for Jewish politicians?” asked The Jerusalem Post. “He’s somebody who clearly could be governor, congressman, senator,” Matt Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, told the Post. He recently attended the AIPAC conference in Washington, D.C., according to the Sioux City Journal, where he “was particularly enthused to hear from Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhayu.” But lately Lederman may have to focus on life in South Dakota where flooding from the Missouri River threatens his home.

Palin’s Star of David necklace
On a stop in New York, Sarah Palin visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island with her daughter, Piper. But it was what she wore that day that caught people’s eyes - Palin donned a Star of David necklace in honor of Jerusalem Day. “Some analysts wondered if the possible Republican candidate for president was actually wearing the necklace to play to the hometown audience,” said The Yeshiva World blog. “Very cool,” remarked one blogger. Others, however, wondered if Palin’s gesture was a bit misguided. “But is it offensive for a Christian to wear a symbol of Judaism? Palin and others can support Israel without wearing the Star of David, just as Jewish politicians support Christians without wearing a cross. Or is this just a blatant attempt by Palin to curry favor with a small but influential group of people?” asked Mark Berman at Opposing Views.

“Foreskin Man”
A comic featuring a blond hero named Foreskin Man battling the evil Monster Mohel has led to calls of anti-Semitism. It comes on the heels of a ballot measure to ban circumcision in San Francisco, and its creator was reportedly hoping to be provocative. “It is one story to fight against circumcision, and another to portray Jews in a false antisemitic stereotype. The Jewish depictions look like they came right out of Nazi Germany propaganda in the 1930’s and 1940’s,” said a writer at Digital Journal. Agreed, said Ken Garcia in the San Francisco Examiner. This “is distasteful even by our limbo-low standards.” And it’s stupid for other reasons, too, said David Shear at ShalomLife. “The level of ignorance, both by the creator and supporters of this measure, is incredible. By attacking the Jewish religious practice of circumcision they are ignoring the over 90% of the American male population who aren’t Jewish and still get circumcised.”

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